When we sell our home and move up to our future homestead, the thing I will miss the most is our orange tree. For the past 15 years (the tree is about 20 years old) we have been blessed with the sweetest, juciest and most abundant oranges one could ever wish for! We did plant a Tango Mandarin in a large pot a couple of years ago and this year we will have our first actual harvest!
For years, our favorite dessert in the winter has been to sit down with 1/2 a Hershey’s Dark Chocolate bar (yes, we share one bar) and a big, juicy orange.
One bite of orange, one bite of chocolate.
Over the holidays I read a new book I got from our library sale called The Quarter-Acre Farm – How I kept the Patio, Lost the Lawn, and Fed My Family for A Year. This is a really good book. Spring Warren, the author, lives in Davis, California, which is smack dab in the middle of Northern California – not far from where I am living right now! Her writing style is very humorous and I found myself laughing out loud quite a bit!
The first thing to do, of course, is peel your oranges. The recipe calls for the peel of six oranges…. no problem. 😀 I peeled mine in strips, then scraped most, but not all of the pith off. The pith is where a lot of nutrients are, and since the peel is being candied, the pith won’t taste so… well… pithy.
The next step is to place the orange peels in a pot, cover with water, boil, drain, boil again, drain and boil once more for a total of 3 times. I guess this is to get a lot of the oils out of the peel (which can be bitter) and also to soften the peels a bit. Then, I added about two cups of water and one cup of sugar to the pot, placed in the boiled orange peels, set the pot on the stove at the lowest simmer, and let it simmer for about an hour.
The author warns not to stir the orange peels while they are in the sugar solution or sugar crystals might precipitate on the peel. You don’t want that.
Then, either set out on parchment paper to dry or place in a dehydrator. Either way, the orange peels will still be a bit tacky when dry (because of the sugar) but when you bite into them, they taste like a burst of orange flavor! So good! The texture is somewhat like a gummy bear, but a bit softer. And they are translucent! We almost ate all of the orange slices as they were!
The dehydrator pictured here was given to Ray and I a few weeks ago by a wonderful couple, my daughter-in-law Wendy’s parents! Jack and Donna are two of the most positive and kind people I know. They are always quick to lend a hand and I have always enjoyed spending time with them. I am so glad our son blessed us with Wendy and her family. However, these past few months have seen some trying times for the two, and if you have a moment, Jack needs some special prayer and good thoughts sent his way. Thanks.
As you can see, I also dried some bananas!
Now to dip the now candied orange peel in chocolate (the ones that are left!) for the ultimate yum! After heating some dark chocolate chips in the microwave to melt the chocolate, I dipped each piece and laid it on parchment paper. I also dipped the banana chips. I took the banana chips out of the dehydrator before they were totally done, so that they were still pliable and not crunchy.
Now doesn’t that look good! Let me explain to you how good these are.
Well… You see… Hmmm… No words can describe how good these are! 🙂
And to think I used to throw the orange peel in the compost pile!!!
Now that it’s orange season again, I hope you try this recipe! Even if you don’t eat too many oranges, save the peel in the refrigerator (scrape off some of the pith first) in a fairly airtight container, and when you have enough you can try this. You won’t be sorry! I’m thinking of doing the same thing with lemon peel. I wonder if it will be as good?
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